Dental do-it-yourselfers beware

As published in the Buck’s County Courier Times

The Internet has revolutionized the fast access to information and research to the benefit of countless people around the globe. The only problem with the Internet is that there is little or no proof of the validity of the information obtained on many websites. References of where and how information was obtained and the author or videographer’s credentials are often conspicuously absent, incomplete, exaggerated or falsified. This can cause a potential for harm and abuse to innocent people who use the Internet to make important decisions regarding their health.

One example is a popular YouTube video entitled “Dentists Hate This Video” and has an alarming 2.4 million views. The video by a group known as “The Truther Girls” who “…like to wade into current affairs, corruption, corporatism and conspiracy topics…” While some of the videos I viewed are interesting and thought provoking, the video on dentistry is rife with errors and dangerous misinformation.

The errors are as follows:
Truther girl says she has a small cavity by the gum-line and didn’t want a dentist to scoop out decay from two teeth to fix it.

Truth: Without a dentist to diagnose the area of concern both clinically and with an x-ray, there is no way to know if it is a cavity or it’s size. A cavity by the gum-line would only require the treatment of that tooth, not two teeth.

Truther girl decides to use colloidal silver because it kills bacteria and she says bacteria is what causes cavities.

Truth: It is the combination of bacteria and carbohydrate from food or beverages that cause cavities. There is no evidence colloidal silver is effective in the treatment or prevention of cavities.

Truther girl mentions several substances including silica, MSM, calcium, magnesium, and iron and a technique called oil pulling that she thinks can be used to remineralize a cavity. She specifically does not recommend fluoride, because it can interfere with remineralization.

Truth: None of the substances including oil pulling are effective in and of themselves at remineralizing tooth decay. Fluoride is the only substance that actually can remineralize early tooth decay and is documented in 47 scientific studies according to a PubMed search. That’s the reason most toothpastes and mouth rinses contain sodium fluoride.

Truther girl does give a few good tips interspersed with the misinformation. She recommends brushing and flossing, and avoiding refined sugar and flour. Even so, she makes another mistake by saying that meat can promote tooth decay, which is not accurate. She also warns people not to necessarily follow her advice, just that it worked for her. Still, her video and those like it can encourage people to make bad decisions about their dental health.

Dr. Jerry Gordon can be reached at (215) 639-0571. Comments, questions, and second opinions are available at The Dental Comfort Zone, 2734 Street Rd. Bensalem, PA 19020 (across from the Giant supermarket).  E-mail: drjdmd@comcast.net